Friday, January 1, 2010

Jonah Goldberg, (as Usual), Has A Point

End of the decade summaries are everywhere these days and Jonah Goldberg was listening to one on National Public Radio that slammed capitalism the cheap way.
"On the last day of 2009, that awful year, I was listening to a report on National Public Radio (yes, I’m a listener). Reporter Tamara Keith presented a by-now-familiar recap of the worst financial and corporate scandals of the decade, from Enron and Martha Stewart to Tyco and Bernie Madoff. It was a depressing slog of greed, venality, and theft. When the report was over, Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep summarized the report with a tart: “The decade in capitalism.”

I don’t want to single out Inskeep, since he was doing what pretty much the entire media establishment has done, particularly of late: reducing “capitalism” to its alleged sins.

And that’s the point. There are few areas of life where a thing responsible for so much good gets so little credit for it.

Imagine if I were to collect the most infamous deeds of African Americans over the last decade — say, Michael Vick’s dog-fighting scandal and O. J. Simpson’s most recent criminal exploit — and then put a bow on it with the phrase “the decade in black America.” What if I did the same thing with Jews? Bernie Madoff, the face of Jewish America! Do the scandals of Rod Blagojevich, Charlie Rangel, and John Edwards define the Democratic party from 2000 to 2010? Do Abu Ghraib and the balloon boy sum up America?"
Goldberg notes that NPR itself is a beneficiary of capitalism:
"Indeed, speaking of the decade in capitalism, National Public Radio failed to mention that Joan Kroc, widow of Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald’s, left more than $200 million to NPR in 2003. Mrs. Kroc’s generosity of spirit was her own, but the wampum is all capitalism’s, baby."
Capitalism allows for charity and charity is important, not only because it helps the needy but also because it helps donors:
"In a similar vein, the decade of capitalism saw one of the world’s richest men, Warren Buffett, pledge more than $30 billion to a foundation created by another offspring of capitalism, Bill Gates, for the purpose of aiding the world’s poor. Surely capitalism should get some of the credit, since the book on philanthropy in non-capitalist systems is shorter than the guide to cities without Starbucks.

Capitalism doesn’t just create generous wealthy people, but generous poor people, too. Americans give twice as much to charity as the most generous European nations, and the most generous Americans are, in fact, poor Americans."
But charity is not the only benefit of capitalism, Goldberg points out.
"But forget philanthropy. Since 2000, hundreds of millions of people in China and India — home to a plurality of the world’s poor — have lifted themselves out of poverty and illiteracy thanks to capitalism.

China started to embrace markets as a last resort in the late 1970s. And by last resort, I mean last resort. First they tried murdering tens of millions of their own people through collectivism and oppression. When that didn’t work, they embraced markets, and the poverty rate dropped from 64 percent to around 8 percent today."
Anti-Capitalism is just as much an ideology as Capitalism is and far less honest. Read the rest here.

1 comment:

Peter Dunn said...

Thanks for this post.

The US government's Social Security and Medicare is a huge Ponzi scheme(ca. 106 trillion in liabilities) that makes Bernie Madoff look like a saint by comparison. It is seriously problematic when your biggest financial criminals are democratically elected representatives. Thus, socialism in even the attenuated form that we find in the US has devastating consequences--like Madoff, they took people's money and spent it. The baby boomers are starting to retire, and the Fed will soon have nothing to give them--except by inflating the US currency and thus robbing them of their fixed income assets. This ponzi scheme, to my knowledge the biggest one in history, is not the blame of capitalism but of socialism.